Magazine article World Literature Today

Friends of Mine

Magazine article World Literature Today

Friends of Mine

Article excerpt

Ángela Pradelli. Friends of Mine. Andrea G. Labinger, tr. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Latin American Literary Review Press. 2012. isbn 9781891270505

Friends of Mine contains a series of seemingly unrelated events in the lives of four childhood friends: Olga, Ema, Patricia, and the ubiquitous Me. The book is divided into one preliminary section entitled "Friends," describing the years of childhood pranks, the angst of teenage years, and sets the scene for the following sections: "Olga," "Ema," "Patricia," "Me," and "Ema: Her Death," which relate the individual lives of each woman. Yet in spite of their long connection to each other, the four friends have met only once per year for twenty years each December 30 to touch base and reconnect via their adventures and misfortunes. Throughout the rest of the year, however, except in the case of Ema and Patricia-who meet more frequently-the friends live their lives separately and have little contact with one another.

The fragmented narrative creates confusion for the reader, who is taken from episode to episode and from person to person with little sense of communal integration or interrelation. At the same time, the parents, spouses, lovers, offspring, and extended family members of the four women enter and leave scenes that appear to have no correlation to the central schematic of the friendship between the four. The narrative voice switches constantly from first-person "I" to third-persons "he," "she," "they," and "we," without naming the subjects, which makes it difficult to identify individual characters. …

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